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A Guide to House Viewings

A Guide to House Viewings

If you’re selling or looking to buy a house (or even rent a property), you are going to become very familiar with house viewings.

This is when an interested party takes a look around a property to decide whether this could be their new home.

So just how do house viewings work? And what should take place during a house viewing?

Let’s find out.

What Happens on a House Viewing?

A house viewing starts the moment you see the property. One in six people have made their mind up within ten seconds of seeing the exterior of the home, so to think the viewing only starts when you walk through the door is off the mark.

But let’s say you like what you see and now you’re standing in front of the door of what could be your future home.

This can be a nerve-wracking time.

You’ve liked what you see on the online listing and from outside, but will the house match your dreams.

There’s only one way to find out.

As you enter a property you will be greeted by an estate agent or the homeowner.

Either way, you will often receive a quick tour of the home. Upstairs and downstairs, your guide will point out all of the essential parts such as where the boiler is as well as showcase some of the qualities of the house.

This is your chance to ask questions and really find out if this is the house for you.

After your tour, you may get a chance to roam the house by yourself. This is nice to provide a viewer as they can sometimes feel awkward when viewing someone’s home. Providing them with some time to look at their own speed is often beneficial to both parties.

Once both parties are satisfied, the viewing is over.

If you want to buy, it’s time to speak to the estate agent who is selling the house.

If you’re not interested, then on to the next one.

Who Organises House Viewings?

This depends on who is selling the house, but more often than not, it will be handled by the estate agent.

You can reach out to them either through the website, by showing interest in a property via email, or by having a chat with the team, either in the office or over the phone.

Once you show your interest, the estate agent will provide a time slot and if both parties can attend the viewing at that time (the viewer and the estate agent/homeowner) then the date is set.

If there are any amendments to the time or date, the estate agent will call you providing you with a fresh update and a new timeslot.

What to Wear to a House Viewing

This may seem like an odd question, but when looking at a property with the view of renting it from a landlord, first impressions can be important.

Smart dress can provide a big boost in a landlord agreeing to let his property with you, so it’s wise to dress up.

I don’t mean a suit and tie; something you would be happy wandering around town on a Saturday afternoon would suffice.

When viewing a house to buy, similar rules apply.

A homeowner has to want to sell their home to you, and often this is a tough decision. People can become attached to their homes and want to see it go to an owner whom they know will care for it.

With that in mind, trying to dress smartly could be a benefit here.

At the end of the day, money is the key player in buying a house, but if two people bid the same amount, it could come down to who made the best impression on the day, so clean them trainers and dust off a nice shirt or blouse, it might just bag you your dream home!

Questions to Ask When Viewing a House

There are plenty of questions to ask when viewing a house, and it all depends on your wants and needs.

As this is a quick guide, I won’t list them all, but here are the top five that should be asked by everyone.

1. What is the Homeowner’s Position?

The position of the homeowner can have a huge influence on the sale.

Are they in the two-thirds of all property sales that are involved in a chain?

Have they seen the property of their dreams and are desperate to sell it asap?

Are they selling because they don’t like something about the house?

All of these questions could have an effect on how much to bid for a home, so it is definitely worth asking.

If you need a sale to go through quickly, buying from an owner who is involved in a slow-moving chain could really slow your process down.

An estate agent or the homeowner themselves will be able to answer all of these questions.

2. What is the Area Like?

A hugely important aspect of moving to a new property is the area.

Do you have children and are hoping to enlist them in a well-respected school?

Do you want to be within walking distance of local amenities such as pubs, shops and cinemas?

And a big one, is there an issue with the area, such as rising crime rates?

It’s always a good idea to have a wander around the neighbourhood before buying to get a feel of whether this location is for you, but it’s also wise to ask.

An estate agent will be packed with information on local schools and entertainment so if anything is important to you, from gyms to restaurants, ask away.

3. What is Included in the Sale?

When walking around a home, you may see many things that you like.

Is there a lovely outside office in the garden?

What about built-in furniture such as wardrobes?

A homeowner may want a new start when selling a property. Also, if it is an owner that has another property (someone selling a property previously rented for example) then they may not want to take lots of furniture with them.

It is worth asking what is included with the price, as this can be a big boost to a potential buyer.

When viewing a property with a view to renting, it is vital you ask what is included. Is the property serviced or do you need to buy furnishings separately? This can be a big outlay so it’s a very important question.

4. How Long has the Property Been on the Market?

Another important one.

If a property has been on the market for months, then this is an indication that it is not selling.

Now you need to ask yourself why.

Is there structural damage that needs addressing?

Does the area have a bad reputation that you don’t know about?

Is the price too high?

This can have a big effect on your decision to bid, so it’s worth finding out.

On the other hand, if the property has only been on for days and is already receiving bids, this is a big indication that you’re going to need to act fast to get your bid above the rest!

5. What Direction Does the Property Face?

Finally, for all the sun worshippers out there, having a south-facing garden which allows you to catch some rays throughout the day is a big benefit.

There’s a reason 42% of people would pay more for a property with a garden facing south, and that it makes 71% of buyers more likely to buy.

People love the sun and with these houses they can make the most of it.

Ask the owner or agent which way the house faces and also take a look for yourself if your viewing is during the day.

Is the back garden basking in sunlight, or buried in shade?

If you love to be outside in the warmth, then this could be a big part of your buying decision.

Not only when outside though, knowing which way your house faces is important when it comes to getting natural light into your home.

Enjoy a morning coffee in the warmth of the morning sun in your living room? Then finding an east-facing window is ideal.

While this isn’t something anyone can change, it could be a deal-breaker for many viewers, so it’s definitely a good question to ask.

How Many Viewings to Sell a House

While this depends on many different variables such as the state of the house and the market, the average is around 17 viewings per sale.

This will probably take place over one to two months.

You may be lucky and find a buyer within days, or you may have to wait months, but if you are selling a well-maintained home in a decent location, then you can expect to see this number of people through your door.

The Do’s and Don’ts of House Viewings

So, let’s start with what to do when viewing a property.

What to do When Viewing a House

Firstly, you should make a list of what is important for you. Carry this list around when viewing a home and tick off what the house can offer.

Visit the home and the area several times to really get a feel for it. See where the sun shines during the day and see what the location is like at night.

It is also a good idea to test everything. Flush the toilet to test the water pressure. Open some cupboard doors to see the depth and make sure the fittings are in place. Check the electrics and gas all have certificates and are all in working order. If you don’t, it could come back to bite you when you move in.

Take photos or videos so you can look back over them later to stay familiar with the home.

And finally, be polite to the homeowner or estate agent. This is their home so things like taking your shoes off at the door, not being overly loud and not insulting the property in front of people are a must.

What not to When Viewing a House

On the topic of politeness, it is vital to remember you are in someone’s home.

Their belongings will be there, and many may be precious, so don’t go around touching things or moving any objects. Also, if you want to see that wardrobe doors work fine, then by all means move them, but definitely don’t go rummaging through the contents.

Rushing the viewing is also a bad idea.

Some people don’t like viewing homes, but what you must remember is this is a huge investment. If you can, take someone else with you who knows what to look for in a property and to provide a second opinion.

If you rush, you will miss things.

Don’t be put off by some things that can be changed, such as décor and certain issues. If anything will cost money, this should be reflected in a drop in value of the house so never step away from buying, use issues to negotiate!

How Long do House Viewings Take

Again, this depends.

How big is the property? If you’re showing someone around seven rooms, it will take a bit longer than someone viewing a studio flat.

Also, how many questions do you have to ask? If you know this is a house you’re really interested in and want to know lots of detail, the viewing will take longer than if you’re not sure and just want to get an idea of a place.

Typically, a house viewing should take around half an hour, but it’s best not to plan anything too soon to one in case they overrun.

Half an hour is the perfect time. The first half should be spent on the tour, and the second half should be the viewer looking around the property themselves, and also time to answer any questions.

What to Look for When Viewing a House

There’s plenty of things you should look for when viewing a property, and five of the main ones are:

  • Issues – do you notice creaking floorboards, signs of damp, or cracks in the wall. All of these are signs of issues that could slow down the buying process or cost you money, so keep your eyes peeled for any signs of these.
  • Certificates – Having a serviced boiler certificate and proper sign off for the gas and electrics in the home is a weight of the mind. This means your home is safe in these regards and there shouldn’t be any unexpected issues.
  • The Feeling – How does the house make you feel. People often say they know when they step into their new home. If you get ‘the feeling’ then that is a huge sign you could be happy here.
  • Alarms – Every property should be fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If buying, you may need to supply your own. If renting, these should come with the property and if they don’t, it could be a red flag against this landlord.
  • Potential – Properties can be a great investment. If you see a worn and tired looking kitchen, don’t be immediately put off. Try and look for the potential of what the house could become with a bit of paint and some DIY. You may be surprised at what you come up with!

Summary

Buying or renting a property isn’t easy.

It’s a big outlay, and its important you make the right decision.

House viewings are a huge part of the buying process, so whether seller, buyer or renter, it’s important to be prepared.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with one of our expert team at Leysbrook Estate Agents.

Contact us here.

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